Hubbard County gets grant to repair old courthouse

$237K will go toward care for the historic building

Copy of 040619.N.PRE.CourthouseRoof.jpg
The historic Hubbard County courthouse is in dire need of a new roof. While structurally sound, a 2016 facility assessment found some of the building's existing electrical components appear to be original, dating to 1900.
Enterprise file photo
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Hubbard County’s 122-year-old courthouse is about to receive some much-needed tender, loving care.

The county was recently awarded a $237,329 Historical and Cultural Heritage Grant from the Minnesota Historical Society.

The grant will go toward replacing the roof ($118,817) on the historic courthouse, painting ($21,321), metal work ($60,616) and construction administration ($16,500), plus $20,075 (10%) is set aside for contingencies.

The county is responsible for $23,734 in matching funds.

The county board approved the grant agreement at their March 1 meeting and signed a contract with MacDonald & Mack Architects of Minneapolis.


County Administrator Jeff Cadwell said the architect will take the project through its bidding and construction phases.

In his report, Cadwell said it is hoped that a contractor can be found and work completed during 2022. He anticipated that bid opening would be in June 2022, with construction beginning in August or September.

Per the grant, the project’s timeframe is from Jan. 1, 2022 through June 1, 2023.

“We anticipate the project will be done before September, October,” Cadwell said.

The grant should cover everything according to specifications, he said, but it is unknown how high or low the bids may be.

A structural analysis is also being arranged, he continued. The project calls for adding a new felt and self-adhering layer on the current roof before replacing the shingles. An engineer must determine if that creates an additional load on the building.

“That will be on our dime. I don’t anticipate that’s going to be more than $10,000,” Cadwell said.

Protecting history

Constructed in 1900, the old courthouse remained county headquarters until about 1975.


It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of properties deemed worthy of preservation.

Hubbard County owns the structure and leases it to the Hubbard County Historical Society, which in turn subleases space to the Nemeth Art Center. Both are non-profit organizations.

According to the county’s grant application, the current roof shingles were installed in 1995. Existing flashings will be removed and new ones installed.

The historic courthouse has original built-in, metal gutters that are lined with ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), also known as a rubber membrane.

Downspouts are described as in “fair to poor condition.” The application says, “There are areas that are bent, rusted with holes, and missing sections, including no downspout at the northwest corner. The downspouts do not adequately direct water from the foundation at all locations.”

The plan is to remove the EPDM, with new metal lining installed in the gutter. New, round downspouts that drain water properly will be put in place.

Loose paint will be removed and areas of rust treated, particularly along the roof’s edge and on a large, metal ventilator.

The galvanized metal cornice, dating from about 1900, will be inspected. Damaged areas will be repaired. All parts of the metal cornice and gable ends will be painted, using historically appropriate colors.


In other business, the county board did as follows:

  • Approved the low quote of $46,830 from F-M Forklift Sales & Service, Inc., of Fargo for a new forklift at the north transfer station. With the trade-in, the final cost is $30,830.
  • Approved an agreement with 2022 Always There Staffing agreement for aquatic invasive species watercraft inspector services. Hubbard County Environmental Services Director Eric Buitenwerf noted that Always There Staffing has provided staff for the county’s AIS program since its inception in 2016. Rates will increase from 34% in 2021 to 39% of an inspector's hourly wage for 2022 due to rising insurance costs and other expenses. Buitenwerf said the firm alerted the county of a likely rate adjustment this year so we did account for that in our 2022 budget and adjusted our estimated hourly cost of providing an inspector in the communication sent out to lake association, city, and township partners. County Social Services Director Brian Ophus explained that some of these services are paid with federal and state funding and some through the county.
  • Approved the $6,700 quote from PER MAR Security Services of Bemidji for updating the panic buttons (burglar alarm system) in the courthouse as part of the Safe and Secure Courthouse Initiative Grant.
  • Approved the new quote of $49,536 from WatchGuard Video/Motorola Solutions of Allen, Texas for body-worn cameras.
  • Approved an annual contract with the Hubbard County Developmental Achievement Center (DAC). The DAC provides home and community-based services provided for adults, known as “therapeutic work services” that include employment exploration, development and support.
  • Approved the 2022-23 contract with Prairie Support Services for its guardianship and conservatorship services for Hubbard County Social Services adult clients.
Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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